Randy “19th Street Red” Cohen, Avenue Boogie (Redtop Recording)

Randy "19th Street Red" Cohen, Avenue Boogie (Redtop Recording)

I’m told Randy “19th Street Red” Cohen hails from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and busks in front of the Superdome before Saints games. His guitar style is primitive but attractive, and invites comparison to John Lee Hooker. He doesn’t so much sing as growl a la Howlin’ Wolf. The method of recording here—analog tape, vacuum tube microphones—only amplifies his raw and ready style. Besides the aforementioned artists, at different times one can also detect the influence of the likes of Muddy Waters, Magic Sam, Smiley Lewis and Guitar Slim— splendid mentors all. Cohen gets the show on the road with a one-chord original, “Love My Baby,” which features a straight- from-the-alley sax break from Jimmy Carpenter. Cohen takes the composer credit for “Hot Little Mama,” but the song is nearly a note-for-note, word-for-word mirror of Israel Tolbert’s “Big Leg Woman.” Still, it’s a fine rendition. Cohen’s nod to the Bayou State is heard on “You Make Me So Happy,” which is as good an example of a B-flat South Louisiana ballad as you’re likely to find. The horns—with Derek Huston in the mix—frame this number perfectly, as they do as well for “Make Your Dreams Come True,” a New Orleans shuffle in the tradition of Smiley Lewis and Roy Brown. If you like rhythm, and you like blues, you’ll find Avenue Boogie up your alley.

  • Randy 19th Street had everyone rocking at the Oak Street Po Bo Street Festival last. His blues set was totally addicting and I noticed the moving mass of festival goers gathered tightly around where Randy was performing. His voice and guiter playing reminded me so much of Howling Wolf. I’d recommend given Randy “19th Street” Cohen a listen. You will enjoy it.